As far as the Madrid Derby (kick-off 10:15 a.m. ET Sunday) is concerned, the midweek results from both sides should mean that the spectacle isn’t marred by the distraction of European second legs.

Both picked up impressive home wins, crucially without conceding away goals, so they can focus on what is still a meaningful game with regards to local bragging rights beyond the 90 minutes. Atletico, after all, sit four points above their illustrious rivals, while Real Madrid could risk slipping out of the top three should they fail to earn all three points.

With that in mind, the onus is on the Real, playing at home, to go all out for the victory, which may well suit their visitors this Sunday. Atletico manager Diego Simeone is a master at setting up his side to be hard to beat and has frustrated the hosts at the Bernabeu on a number of occasions in recent years.


The two teams head into the game with some defensive concerns, with Real missing Nacho through injury, which will mean Raphael Varane — not at full fitness himself — will need to be fast tracked back into the side. Atletico, meanwhile, are likely to be without Jose Gimenez at the heart of their defense, while first choice fullbacks Filipe Luis (out) and Sime Vrsaljko (doubtful) may both miss out too.

While such absences may point toward this being a game for the forwards, neither coach will want to risk further injuries and may set up with a solid base from the middle of the park, relying on the individual brilliance of their star forwards to make the difference.

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